10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Michael Matthews of Australia winning the sprint in stage 10 of the Tour de France overnight. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Good morning! Let’s get started.

1. There has been a huge rally in commodities, with iron ore surging more than 6% and futures this morning pointing to further gains ahead. There’s no obvious catalyst, although authorities in the steel-producing city of Tangshan have flagged a production shutdown at the end of the month. Iron ore, coking coal, and rebar all went crazy yesterday, with ore and coal futures hitting their upper limits for the session.

2. US stocks hit all-time highs with the S&P500 grinding out a 0.7% gain. With risk appetite back on, the Australian dollar is now back where it was when the RBA last cut rates, popping above .7650 in overnight trade. ASX futures are pointing to a 30-point gain or so at the open. Greg McKenna looks ahead here.

3. Things are about to get interesting in Australia’s neighbourhood. An international arbitration court in The Hague last night threw out China’s territorial claim over parts of the South China Sea. The chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee is John McCain, and he issued this statement – interestingly, through a senior military officer.

In light of the findings of this ruling, we expect that the United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we have done in the Western Pacific for more than a century. This includes regularly challenging China’s excessive maritime claims and maintaining a persistent presence of surface combatants and rotational aviation assets inside the first-island chain.

The Philippines brought the territorial case against China, which says the ruling is “full of mistakes”. Australia, which is urging restraint, has previously been urged to exercise freedom of navigation in the area by US officials.

4. Spot the trend:

This is the chart for yields on government bonds from the world’s three major economic powerhouses. Many people have been predicting a reversal of this for years. The chart’s from JP Morgan’s excellent quarterly guide to Australian and global markets.

5. Australia has a million-dollar coin. Here’s Colin Barnett with an outsize replica of it:

Photo: Perth Mint

The actual coin, which was struck by the Perth Mint, is made of 99.9% pure gold and features a rare Argyle red diamond.

6. More details are out on Magic Leap, the secretive virtual reality project which has raised over $US1 billion in venture capital, and it continues to sound astounding. There is a secret lab at Lucasfilm and a development centre in Silicon Valley. Employees are asked to wear the Magic Leap glasses and live in a mixed reality world all day and apparently, digital people roam around and they have been made a little brighter to indicate they are not real. And also they reportedly have “X-wings” flying around the office. More here.

7. iMessage is getting a huge revamp. Apple is planning to create its own “mini social network” using its messaging app, to fight back against the rise of apps like Whatsapp and Snapchat. It will include more emojis, the ability to share and scribble on short videos, and new ways to share music and how you’re feeling. Steve Kovach has more.

8. Apple’s computer sales, meanwhile, are tanking. See the surprise winner at the top of this computer sales ranking for the global market:

Apple needs to redesign and update the MacBook. That’s expected soon.

9. “Just like every other mobile game it will have to face the retention figures after 7, 30, and 90 days,” according to one analyst. “Chances are we are looking at the mobile games’ equivalent of a summer hit song rather than a revolution in the mobile game monarchy.” Yes, that’s about Pokemon Go, which has made an estimated $US14 million in its first week.

10. Congratulations to Michael Matthews, the Australian rider who won his first Tour de France stage in the Tour de France overnight.

Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo

BONUS ITEM: It’s not like we really need another version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, but we can make an exception for Rufus Wainwright singing it with a choir of 1500 people. Enjoy:

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